The bile acid independent flow is reduced in the transplanted liver
Bile secretion is an important indicator of liver graft function. Reports on bile formation by the transplanted liver with stable function some months after operation are scarce. In this study bile flow, bile salt secretion rate (BSSR) and biliary clearance of polyethylene glycol (PEG) 900, a marker of canalicular bile flow, were studied in a group of liver-transplanted (LTX) patients (n = 8) 3–6 months after transplantation. A group of cholecystectomized patients with indwelling T-tubes (n = 6) served as a control group. Both groups were treated with oral ursodeoxycholic acid (500 mg/day). On the day of the study bile was drained for 6 h by gravity and four-hourly samples were used in the calculations. The relation between bile flow and BSSR analysed with linear regression showed a reduced bile acid independent flow in the liver-transplanted group (0.11 ml/min) compared with the control group (0.20 ml/min). The relation between biliary clearance of PEG 900 and BSSR showed a significantly steeper slope for the cholecystectomized control patients (1.40 ml/µmol) compared with the liver-transplanted patients (0.30 ml/µmol). We conclude, that in spite of stable graft function with normal liver enzmyes, the transplanted liver has a reduced bile acid independent bile flow. The transplanted liver also has a reduced biliary clearance of PEG 900 indicating a reduced canalicular bile flow. The cause of this impaired bile formation could be due to the influence of the immunosuppressive drug cyclosporin, the result of damage to the liver during preservation and reperfusion or the continuous immunological challenge to the graft.
Key wordsBile Bile secretion Liver transplantation Ursodeoxycholic acid Polyethylene glycol Cyclosporin
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